Monday, February 9, 2015

Pro-Vax, Anti-Vax and making the informed choice

With all the talk in the media recently about vaccinations and whether we should or should not, it got me to thinking about all the conversations I've had over the last 18 years with people about this very subject.  It's never been an easy conversation to have. With anyone, either pro or con. Partly because people in general tend to be very legalistic about this subject as well as rather judgmental, insulting and dismissive if you don't agree. I know for sure I have fallen at times into all these camps myself, and that's not something I'm proud of.

Brief history of where I've stood on this issue:

Kids 1, 2 and 3 were all vaccinated (or got their Puppy Shots as their pediatrician used to call them). With each kid, and with each shot, I was given an Informed Consent form to read and sign first.  I read every word, for every shot and always signed it.  None of them ever had any problems with any of the shots except for the occasional swelling in the area of the injection.

Kid 4 began to receive all her shots the same as the others, then at just over a year old, we noticed a change in her immediately after a vaccination. I'll spare all the details but suffice it to say the changes were noticeable enough I called the doctor's office and they assured me they were definitely not related to the shot. Over the next year the changes in her became more pronounced, and after months of internet research and reading the experiences of other parents just like us we stumbled across the study that has since been debunked but at the time, was making a LOT of noise in the medical community.  Unfortunately, like so many other parents, we believed that study.  It was the only thing that made sense, at the time. At times I suppose we were what you'd call "anti-vaxxers" but really, we were more "we're just not sure-vaxxers" due to so much conflicting information available.

That was then.  This is now:

Since that time we have obviously come to understand that a.) the changes in Kid 4 were changes that would have happened regardless.  This is simply the way God made her.  She has a "moderate developmental disability" which is a long way for saying, she's just a bit slower than most kids her same age. While she has been in the specialized education program at school for the last 5+ years, she is very high-functioning. She cooks, (and makes the best omelet I've ever had), spends too much time on her tablet on Netflix and texting her friends, sleeps in until noon on Saturdays and is even doing co-op placement/job training at school.  In many ways, she's just like any other teenager.  Although she does have limitations that will always be there.  We believe now it was simply a coincidence that we began to notice these changes in her at the same time she had a Puppy Shot.  Like the doctor's office said at the time "those symptoms are not connected to this vaccination".

At the time however, we opted out of having Kids 5, 6 and 7 vaccinated, and didn't finish Kid 4's childhood vaccination schedule.


Now we believe, that was a mistake we made based on a.) false info floating around out there and b.) wanting to protect our kids from whatever possible side effects could potentially occur.  Simply stated, we were wrong.  After much discussion over the last year or so, we have made the decision that we will be getting ALL of them vaccinated (and we have talked about it with them as well and they all agree they want to be vaccinated), in the same way children coming to Canada from other cultures that do not vaccinate, get caught up.  It's a much different process than Puppy Shots but it's still just as effective.

I read this really well written article today and for parents who might still be on the fence, I think it will help.  Or, at least give some very important food for thought and information to pray about as you come to this decision for yourself, and your children.